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Having demonstrated the fundamentals, our Compagni will move on to study the tactics expressed within Fiore's zogho largo, or "long" plays. This is the distance beyond which one can initiate abrazzare (grappling) without a step. We find that Fiore's tactical principles are expressed in the order in which the plays are presented in the Getty mss.

However, in the treatise the second master of battle is interspersed with a number of remedys and contra-remedi--and even contra-contra remedii

We have analyzed and grouped these responses and tactical principles into our second study module, which features eight plays, and two optional ones. 

Guiding this study is introduced the concept of tempi--times--the "three times" borrowed from Fillipo Vadi and Viggiani. Fiore never expressed time, per se (except for the concept of subito, kind of "immediately"), but these concepts may be present as subtext. In any event, the ideas of stesso tempo, mezzo tempo, and duo tempo are valuable analytical tools.

The second principle is one expressed with the three turns. These are mentioned very briefly where Fiore introduces his volte of the feet, saying essentially, " too are there three turns of the sword." Our interpretation of the volta stabile, mezza volta and tutta volta have stood up to the test of both sparring and teaching, though we will never know if this is how Fiore intended the terms to be used. 

Therefore, the compagno studying the zogho largo is guided by two new meta principles--the tre tempi and the tre volte, in addition to the ones already encountered such as the principles of stability, strength (power), judgment and speed, corresponding to the four animals of the segno. The student is also expected to learn a little more about the segno, about Fiore, and to begin spending time with the original manuscript, which we have available for members at no cost. 

While the intended coursebook for this and the next level, Masters of the Crossed Swords, has been long delayed, the text and videos are available to members at no cost. 

The testing for Scolaro Minore is another "knowledge" test, where the student is expected to demonstrate more knowledge about Fiore, the segno, the core and new tactical principles, in addition to smoother demonstration of the eight (to ten) plays of the zhogo largo, and to have basic sparring equipment, preferably medieval in form. If the testing is successful, generally after about 15-20 weeks, the students is recognized as having completed the module, has the basic tools to begin intensively sparring, and is known as a scolaro minore, or "junior scholar," denoted sometimes with a blue belt. 

NOTE: Optional readings for a background on Medieval Europe, from Tierney & Painter, Western Europe in the Middle Ages (see MEMBER RESOURCES)

  • WEEK 1 - Chapter 1 - Europe: Land & People

  • WEEK 2 - Chapter 8 - The Feudal World 

  • WEEK 3 - Chapter 12 - Expansion & The First Crusade

  • WEEK 4 - Chapter 13 - Economic Revival & Social Change

  • WEEK 5 - Chapter 20 - The Age of Adversity

  • WEEK 6 - Chapter 22 - The Hundred Years' War - 14th c. Campaigns

  • WEEK 7 - Chapter 24 - Society, Economy & Culture (Late Medieval Europe)

  • WEEK 8 - Chapter 25 - The End of the Hundred Years' War 

The Pell

348 Of fight the disciplyne and exercise

349    Was this: to haue a pale or pile vpright

350 Of mannys hight, thus writeth olde wyse;

351    Therwith a bacheler or a yong knyght

352 Shal first be taught to stonde & lerne fight;

353    A fanne of doubil wight tak him his shelde,

354    Of doubil wight a mace of tre to welde.

355 This fanne & mace, which either doubil wight is

356     Of shelde & sword in [con]flicte or bataile,

357 Shal exercise as wel swordmen as knyghtys,

358     And noo man (as thei seyn) is seyn prevaile

359 In felde or in gravel though he assaile,

360    That with the pile nath first gret exercise;

361    Thus writeth werreourys olde & wise.

362 Have vche his pile or pale vpfixed faste,

363    And, as in werre vppon his mortal foo,

364 With wightynesse & wepon most he caste

365    To fighte stronge, that he ne shape him fro,---

366 On him with shild & sword avised so,

367    That thou be cloos, and prest thi foo to smyte,

368    Lest of thin owne deth thou be to wite.[1]


[1] Kyghthode and Bataile (c. 1460), ed. R. Dyboski and Z.M. Arend, London: Early English Text Society, 1935. This text is available on the SSG members page website, under MEMBER RESOURCES: CHIVALRY. Grappling with the Middle English can be a challenge, but there is a lot of interesting material.

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